If Millennials view marriage as important, many even placing marriage on a pedestal, then why aren’t they in a rush to get married? Instead they’re waiting longer to get married. Young adults tend to want to accomplish a few goals first like finishing their degree, owning a home and gaining economic stability.
Here are three trends for millennials and marriage from The American Family Survey.
Economic Situation is a Big Factor
Millennials understandably want to be financially and economically secure before getting married. If you think about those in their 20s (and sometimes 30s) who are still living at home, it makes sense to wait until you make it out on top of a financial or economic struggle.
In the past, marriage was a way to secure your economic status. Now, “Marriage is almost like the last thing you do. It’s the last box you tick, rather than a way of getting to some of the other boxes,” said Richard Reeves who is a consultant on the survey.
“I think it’s just that they want the marriages to succeed and therefore are willing to wait until the circumstances are a bit better,” added Reeves.
Commitment is Slightly More Important than Marital Status
According to the survey, “young people emphasize commitment over marital status, but they are not rejecting marriage as an obsolete practice or status. Compared to older Americans, young people do tend to have slightly different expectations about what one must do before getting married. For instance, 21% of 18-19-year-olds say it is “very important” to live together with one’s future spouse before marriage, compared with just 3% of those over 65.”
However, the verdict is still out on whether commitment is more important than being legally married. The survey revealed, “About 47% of respondents say personal commitment is more important, while 37% tend to emphasize legal marriage over personal commitment.”
Same-sex Marriage Movement is Seen as Positive
Those with liberal views were more likely to believe the Supreme Court’s decision about same-sex marriage was positive and would “bolster marriage” and was “strongly correlated with ideology.”
The study stated, “Young people are also somewhat more likely than older respondents to believe that the Court’s decision will have a positive effect on marriage, though as with partisanship, age differences are much less profound than ideological differences. The average support score among 18-29 year-old respondents is 53.”
Interestingly, it’s not fear of commitment or divorce that is keeping young adults from marriage. It seems to be economic concerns. How can we as a Church better prepare young adults for marriage and for life financially, economically and spiritually?